You are on page 1of 150

STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 1

STL Rapid Prototyping

User's Guide
Version 5 Release 16
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 2

Special Notices
CATIA® is a registered trademark of Dassault Systèmes.

Protected by one or more U.S. Patents number 5,615,321; 5,774,111; 5,821,941; 5,844,566; 6,233,351;
6,292,190; 6,360,357; 6,396,522; 6,459,441; 6,499,040; 6,545,680; 6,573,896; 6,597,382; 6,654,011;
6,654,027; 6,717,597; 6,745,100; 6,762,778; 6,828,974 other patents pending.

DELMIA® is a registered trademark of Dassault Systèmes.

ENOVIA® is a registered trademark of Dassault Systèmes.

SMARTEAM® is a registered trademark of SmarTeam Corporation Ltd.

Any of the following terms may be used in this publication. These terms are trademarks of:
Java Sun Microsystems Computer Company
OLE, VBScript for Windows, Visual Basic Microsoft Corporation
IMSpost Intelligent Manufacturing Software, Inc.

All other company names and product names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

Certain portions of this product contain elements subject to copyright owned by the following entities:
Copyright © Dassault Systemes
Copyright © Dassault Systemes of America
Copyright © D-Cubed Ltd., 1997-2000
Copyright © ITI 1997-2000
Copyright © Cenit 1997-2000
Copyright © Mental Images Gmbh & Co KG, Berlin/Germany 1986-2000
Copyright © Distrim2 Lda, 2000
Copyright © Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique (INRIA
Copyright © Compaq Computer Corporation
Copyright © Boeing Company
Copyright © IONA Technologies PLC
Copyright © Intelligent Manufacturing Software, Inc., 2000
Copyright © SmarTeam Corporation Ltd
Copyright © Xerox Engineering Systems
Copyright © Bitstream Inc.
Copyright © IBM Corp.
Copyright © Silicon Graphics Inc.
Copyright © Installshield Software Corp., 1990-2000
Copyright © Microsoft Corporation
Copyright © Spatial Corp.
Copyright © LightWork Design Limited 1995-2000
Copyright © Mainsoft Corp.
Copyright © NCCS 1997-2000
Copyright © Weber-Moewius, D-Siegen
Copyright © Geometric Software Solutions Company Limited, 2001
Copyright © Cogito Inc.
Copyright © Tech Soft America
Copyright © LMS International 2000, 2001
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 3

Raster Imaging Technology copyrighted by Snowbound Software Corporation 1993-2001

CAM-POST ® Version 2001/14.0 © ICAM Technologies Corporation 1984-2001. All rights reserved

The 2D/2.5D Display analysis function, the MSC.Nastran interface and the ANSYS interface are based on LMS
International technologies and have been developed by LMS International

ImpactXoft, IX Functional Modeling, IX Development, IX, IX Design, IXSPeeD, IX Speed Connector, IX Advanced
Rendering, IX Interoperability Package, ImpactXoft Solver are trademarks of ImpactXoft. Copyright ©2001-
2002 ImpactXoft. All rights reserved.

This software contains portions of Lattice Technology, Inc. software. Copyright © 1997-2004 Lattice
Technology, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2005, Dassault Systèmes. All rights reserved.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 4

STL Rapid Prototyping

Overview
What's New?
Getting Started
Basic Surface Tessellation
Repairing the Mesh
Checking the Mesh Quality
User Tasks
Starting the STL Rapid Prototyping Workbench
Using the Keyboard
STL files
Importing Files
Exporting to STL
STL Edition
Activating a Portion of a Cloud
Remove
STL Mesh
Mesh Creation
Surface Tessellation
Offset
Flip Edges
Smoothing Meshes
Mesh Cleaner
Fill Holes
Interactive Triangle Creation
STL Operations
Meshes Merge
Split
Trimming or Splitting a Mesh
Display Options
Information
Interoperability
Updating Parts
Using the Historical Graph
Creating Datums
Points in Generative Shape Design
Managing Geometrical Sets
Workbench Description
Menu Bar
Creation Toolbars
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 5
STL Files
Edition
Mesh
Operations
Analysis
Analysis Toolbars
Specification Tree
Glossary
Index
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 6

Overview
Welcome to the STL Rapid Prototyping User's Guide!
This guide is intended for users who need to become quickly familiar with the product.

This overview provides the following information:

● STL Rapid Prototyping in a Nutshell

● Before Reading this Guide

● Getting the Most Out of this Guide

● Accessing Sample Documents

● Conventions Used in this Guide

STL Rapid Prototyping in a Nutshell

STL Rapid Prototyping helps the stereolithography specialist to build and manage STL files.

The STL Rapid Prototyping User's Guide has been designed to show you how to do that. Although
stereolithography knowledge is not mandatory, it is recommended to have some technical background in the
area.

Before Reading this Guide


Prior to reading the STL Rapid Prototyping User's Guide, you are recommended to have a look at the
Infrastructure User's Guide for information on the generic capabilities common to all products.

Getting the Most Out of this Guide


To make the most out of this book, we suggest that a beginning user reads the Getting Started chapter
first of all and the Workbench Description to find his way around the STL Rapid Prototyping workbench.

Accessing Sample Documents


To perform the scenarios, sample documents are provided all along this documentation. For more information
about this, refer to Accessing Sample Documents in the Infrastructure User's Guide.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 7

What's New?
No enhancements in this release.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 8

Getting Started
The following tutorial aims at giving you a feel of what you can do with STL Rapid Prototyping. It provides a step-
by-step scenario showing you how to use key capabilities.

The main tasks proposed in the chapter are:

Basic Surface Tessellation


Repairing the Mesh
Checking the Mesh Quality

All together this scenario should take 15 minutes to complete.

The final cloud element will look like this:


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 9

Creating a Basic Surface Tessellation


The first task will show you how to enter the STL Rapid Prototyping workbench
and create a basic surface tessellation.

The only pre-requisites for this task is to have a current session running.

1. Choose STL Rapid Prototyping from the Start/NC Manufacturing menu.

The STL Rapid Prototyping workbench is displayed and ready to use.

2. Open the GettingStartedSTL.CATPart from the samples directory.

It is a hairdryer, made of surfaces, with a gap and a hole in it.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 10

3. Click the Surface Tessellate icon and select the hairdryer. Click Apply and OK.

You can see clearly the hole and the gap in the tessellation.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 11

Repairing the Mesh


This task will show you how to repair a mesh.

Use the mesh you have created in the previous task.

Repairing the hole:

1. Click the Fill Holes icon and select the mesh.

The exterior edge of the model is displayed in red,


with an "x" meaning this edge is not candidate for a filling.

The two other edges in green with a "v" surround holes candidates for the filling.

2. Place the cursor over the label of the long hole and call the contextual menu.

Choose Not selected.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 12

3. Click Apply and OK. The hole is filled:


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 13

Repairing the gap:

1. Click the Define a Mesh Area icon and select the mesh (Tessellation.1).

2. Draw a trap around the gap and check the Inside Trap option.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 14

Click Apply and OK. A portion of the mesh is activated:

3. Click the Mesh Regeneration icon and select the mesh (Tessellation.1).
Check the Constrained option.

Click Apply and OK.

A MeshCreation.1 element is created in the specification tree:

the mesh on this portion has been regenerated.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 15

4. Select the Tessellation.1 element in the specification tree and click the Activation icon.

Push the Activate All button. Both meshes are now active (we have changed MeshCreation.1

to pink).

From the picture below you can see that they are complementary:
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 16

5. Click the Merge icon and select the two meshes:


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 17

6. Click OK. A Meshes Merge.1 element is created in the specification tree.

You have now a flawless mesh.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 18
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 19

Checking the Mesh Quality


This task will show you how to quickly check the quality of the mesh.

Use the mesh you have created in the previous task.

1. Click the Display icon and select the Meshes Merge.1 mesh.
The Cloud Display Options dialog box is displayed.

The default option is Smooth. You can check :

❍ the Triangles option:


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 20

❍ the Free Edges option:

❍ the Non-manifold Edges option: (none in our example)


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 21

❍ the Flat option:

❍ You can combine all of them too.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 22

User Tasks

Starting the STL Rapid Prototyping Workbench


Using the Keyboard
STL files
STL Edition
STL Mesh
STL Operations
Display Options
Information
Interoperability
Managing Geometrical Sets
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 23

Opening the STL Rapid Prototyping Workbench


The first task will show you how to enter the STL Rapid Prototyping workbench and
create a basic surface tessellation.

The only pre-requisites for this task is to have a current session running.

1. Choose STL Rapid Prototyping from the Start/NC Manufacturing menu.

The STL Rapid Prototyping workbench is displayed and ready to use.

2. You can then either import an STL file, or open a CAD model, or standard IGES or STEP data.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 24

Using the Keyboard


Key Command Action
Activation
Shift Remove (Pick or Brush), Deselects selected elements
Split
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 25

STL Files
These actions deal with the import and the export of files
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 26

Importing Files

This task shows how to import digit files describing a cloud of points (scanned or computed) or a mesh.

We recommend that you import files in IGES 106 format using the dedicated Import icon rather
than the File/Open menu.

Available formats depend on the workbench you are working in.

Files import from ENOVIA is not yet implemented.

Use the MultiImport1.cgo_ascii, MultiImport2.cgo_ascii, MultiImport3.cgo_ascii from the samples directory.

Digitized Shape Editor


● Ascii free,

● Atos (the quality of the points can be taken into account),

● Cgo,

● Gom-3d (as points, scans, grids or meshes, the quality of the points can be taken into account),

● Hyscan,

● IGES (IGES Entities 116 are processed.

If the cloud to import is made of Entities 116 only, the result is a cloud of points.

Otherwise, the result is made of scans).

● Kreon

● Steinbichler (as points, grids or scans),

● Stl (bin or ascii, with creation of free edges and facets, if requested).

STL Rapid Prototyping


● STL files (bin or ascii, with creation of free edges and facets, if requested) (default option),

● Cgo,

● Ascii free,

● IGES (IGES Entities 116 are processed.

If the cloud to import is made of Entities 116 only, the result is a cloud of points.

Otherwise, the result is made of scans).


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 27
● In Cgo, Ascii and IGES formats, you can not process more than 10,000 points at each import,
in one or several files, e.g. you can not import 4 files of 3,000 points each in one shot but you can import them separately.
● This limitation applies to the input files (before Sampling or resizing with the bounding box).
● If you try to import over 10,000 points in one shot, a fatal error panel is displayed:
Too many points for this configuration.
❍ If the Grouped option is active, no file is imported.
❍ If the Grouped option is not active, files are imported as long as the sum of their points does
not exceed 10,000 points.

● Mesh Regeneration is not available on those files.

Shape Sculptor
● STL files (bin or ascii, with creation of free edges and facets, if requested).

1. Click the Import icon . The Cloud Import dialog box is displayed.

2. In the Format field, select the file format.

3. In the Selected File area, use the button ... to browse your directories and select a file.

4. Check the box Statistics to display information about the model you are importing.

If you want to import several files in one shot, please refer to the Grouped explanations.

5. In the Options field:

❍ Enter the Sampling percentage to apply;

The sampling value determines the percentage of points or scans or grids that will be read from the digit file.

❍ Enter the Scale factor to apply to the model, as well as the Unit used in the file.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 28

● If the extension of the file you have selected is consistent with the list proposed, the Format field is updated automatically.
Otherwise, be careful to enter the correct format in that field.
● Once you have performed an import operation, V5 proposes the last entered file path and format as default.
If you click on ..., the last entered directory is proposed as default.
● The File unit option is not relevant to the Steinbichler format, nor the Sampling percentage to the Stl format.

6. For some digit file formats, you may want to enter additional data that are displayed by clicking the button More>>

For Ascii: For Atos and Gom-3d: For Iges: For Stl:

Direction and Delimitors apply to scans. Enter these data whenever you know them.
Minimal Point Quality is used to clean Atos file from invalid points.
The quality value of a point lies between 0 and 255 (low to high).
Choose a value to ignore points below that value:

❍ Minimal Point Quality value is 125:

❍ Minimal Point Quality value is 75:

System applies to the operating system (Unix or Windows NT) used to generate the binary data:
select Same if you know you are using the same operating system as the one used to generate the binary data,
Other for the other way, Unknown if you have no indication.
Free Edges is used to create or not the scans representing the free edges of a mesh:

or
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 29
Facets is used to create or not the facets of the imported mesh:

or

7. Click Apply to display the cloud of points or mesh:

8. Push the button Update to display the bounding box of the cloud of points or mesh.

Use the green arrow to resize it in order to import only a part of the cloud of points or mesh.

● The bounding box appears every time the cursor passes over a cloud of points or a mesh.
Its size corresponds to that of the visible points.
● If a local axis system is set as current, the file will imported in this axis systems and not
in the absolute axis system as previously.
If no local axis system is set as current, the file will be imported in the absolute axis system.
● Moreover, if a local axis system is set as current, the axis system of the dynamic box used to select
a portion of the imported file when the Update button is pushed is parallel to the local axis system axis.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 30

The check box Replace is used to replace the current cloud of points or mesh by a new one.

9. Once you are satisfied with the preview, click Apply and OK to finish the import of the cloud of points or mesh.

● The name of the element created in the specification tree is the name of the original file, without its extension.
● Undo and Redo are available.
● V5 memorizes the data of the last imported file and proposes them at the next import action.

Importing a Set of Files

1. Click the Import icon . The Cloud Import dialog box is displayed.
he operating mode is the same as for one file.

The files to import must:


❍ have the same format,
❍ be located under the same directory.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 31

The Selected File field looks like this:

❍ If you check the Grouped option (this is the default status):


All the files are imported as one single cloud of points instead of several:

The three digit files have been imported together, resulting in one cloud of points or mesh.
One cloud of points Element Cloud Import.x is created in the specification tree,
with the icon of the Import command.

❍ If you do not check the Grouped option: The files are imported separately.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 32

The three digit files have been imported separately, resulting in three clouds of points.
One cloud of points element is created in the specification for each input file,
with the icon of the Import command and the name of the input file
(MultiImport1.1, MultiImport2.1, MultiImport3.1)

● You can also merge several clouds of points into one whenever necessary, using the Merge Clouds command.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 33

Exporting Polygons to STL


This task shows how to export a mesh to binary Stl format.

Other formats available are:

● ASCII,

● cgo.

Open the Cloud.CATPart from the samples directory.

1. Select the Polygon.1 and then the export icon .


The export dialog box is displayed.

2. One export format is available: Stl.

3. Browse your directories and enter the target directory and file name. Then click Save.

● The selection is exported with the current local axis system if any, with the absolute axis system
otherwise.

● You can export only one element at a time.


● In STL Rapid Prototyping, only the Stl format is available.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 34

Editing Meshes

This chapter deals with the edition of meshes, i.e. Selection, Remove actions.
Although the dialog boxes look similar, the operating mode of the Select and Remove actions are
slightly different:
● De-activated triangles can be recalled using Activate all and Invert in a new activation action.
● Removed triangles cannot be recalled! Activate all and Invert apply only to the current removal
action.
They cannot be used to recall removed triangles, once you have clicked OK.
● The Activation action displays only triangles that are fully selected
(i.e. the whole triangle is inside the selection trap, or all its vertices have been picked).
If you select only one or two vertices of a triangle, or if the selection trap intersects the triangle, it is
not displayed.
● As a consequence, when you push the button Swap, the triangles displayed are not the exact
complement of the previous selection.
● The Remove action takes into account triangles that are at least partially selected
(at least one vertex has been picked, or the selection trap intersects the triangle).

Activating a Portion of a Cloud


Remove
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 35

Activating a Portion of a Cloud of Points


This task shows how to select a portion of a cloud of points or of mesh in order to create a work area,
either:
● by picking directly elements of the cloud (points, scans, grids, cells, clouds) or
● by defining a portion of the cloud or mesh with a 2D or 3D trap,
● by moving a brush over a portion of a mesh.
The free edges displayed are those of the complete mesh:
● if you activate only a portion of a mesh, the free edges of that portion are not displayed.

Open the Cloud.CATPart model the from the samples directory.

Click here for more information on the dialog box.

1. Click the Activate Areas icon and the mesh. The Activate dialog box is displayed.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 36

2. Draw a rectangle by dragging the mouse over the portion you want to select.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 37
As you release the mouse, the triangles selected are highlighted in red.
When you move the mouse over one corner of the rectangle, dimensioning arrows are displayed,
enabling you to resize the rectangle.

3. Push the Valid Trap button that is now available and draw a second rectangle. Push Valid Trap

again.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 38

4. Push the Swap button. The selection is inverted.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 39

5. Click OK to validate and exit the action.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 40
Removing Elements
This task shows you how to remove a elements from a cloud or a mesh.

● The deleted elements are those that appear in red during selection.
● By default, the trap is displayed in the view plane (2D trap).
You can rotate the model to display the trap as a 3D trap.
● Within one removal action, use Activate all to recall all the points of the original cloud of points,
or Swap to invert the selection (the complement of the current selection becomes active
whereas the current selection is hidden).
● The Remove action takes into account triangles that are at least partially selected
(at least one vertex has been picked, or the selection trap intersects the triangle).

● Undo/Redo are not available on the global action.


● Although the dialog boxes look similar, the operation mode of the Activate and the
Remove actions are slightly different:

● Removed elements can not be recalled !


● Activate all and Swap apply only to the current removal action.
They can not be used to recall removed elements once you have validated the action.
● All free edges may be displayed.

Open the Cloud.CATPart model from the samples directory.

Click here for more information on the dialog box.

1. Click the Remove icon and the mesh. The Remove dialog box is displayed.

2. Check the Mode option:

❍ Pick:
■ Select the required element type (Level) to remove elements using the hierarchical selection.
According to your choice and the application you are working in, only points, or triangles,
or scan/grid, or cells (sub-cloud) or clouds (global cloud) will be removed.
■ Select the unwanted elements on the cloud, then Click OK to confirm their removal and close the dialog box.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 41

❍ Trap

■ Select the required Trap Type and the portion of cloud to remove (Inside or Outside Trap) to

remove elements using a graphical trap.

■ You can draw either one single trap, or several traps.

In that case, valid each trap with the Valid Trap push button before drawing the next one.
If you draw a trap, push Valid Trap, then Swap, you will remove the complement of the original selection.

■ Click OK when all traps have been defined to remove the unwanted elements and close the dialog box.

The traps may be either


❍ rectangular :
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 42

In that case, you can modify the trap using the green manipulators.

❍ or polygonal :

❍ or spline:

In those cases, you can modify the trap using the green manipulators or use the Undo action on each segment
of the trap as long as you have not double-clicked to end the polygonal trap.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 43

Mesh
This chapter deals with the tessellation of clouds of points.

Mesh Creation
Surface Tessellation
Offset
Flip Edges
Smoothing Meshes
Mesh Cleaner
Fill Holes
Interactive Triangle Creation
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 44

Mesh Creation

This task shows how to mesh a cloud of points or regenerate an existing mesh.

The Mesh Creation and the Mesh Regeneration actions offer:

● a neighborhood parameter that makes it possible to fill holes or to let some areas unmeshed,
● an automatic detection or a manual definition of the meshing plane for the 2D mesher,
● boundary continuity with contiguous meshes through the Constrained option,
● a fully automatic 3D meshing (c)INRIA, suitable for mechanical parts
with blind or through holes, that respects details, especially sharp edges,
● a sag value to mesh dense clouds with a reduced number of triangles,
but still respecting the 3D Shape within a given tolerance.
In STL Rapid Prototyping, Mesh Regeneration is allowed on meshes only,
i.e. objects whose partially or totally active cells are meshes.

If this is not the case, a fatal error panel is displayed:


Mesh Regeneration is allowed on meshes only.
Open the Cloud.CATPart model from the samples directory.

1. Click the Mesh Creation or Mesh Regeneration icon .


The Mesh Creation dialog box is displayed.

2. Check the Execution Mode option you need:

❍ 3D Mesher this is a meshing method for complicated shapes


(e.g. mechanical objects, clouds that can not be projected onto a single plane,
or without draft characteristics).
This is the default option.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 45

This mesher provides a Sag option to reduce the number of triangles computed on dense clouds.
However, this option respects the shape of the object.

You would achieve the same result by filtering the cloud with the adaptative option set
to the sag value and meshing the output.

You can also mesh a cloud with a sag equal to 0. This means that all the points are meshed.
This algorithm is more suitable to mesh large clouds quickly.

❍ 2D Mesher: this is a less complex meshing method, to apply to simple objects, i.e.
that can be projected onto a single plane (smooth shapes).
The entry dialog box is replaced with that of the 2D Mesher.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 46

2. If you have selected the 3D Mesher, if necessary check the sag option and enter its value,

or keep the default 3D Mesher.

3. If you have selected the 2D Mesher, select the plane that is the computation reference for the meshing:

❍ either one main plane

❍ or one defined with the compass

The quality of the mesh depends on the computation direction.

4. A Neighborhood value is proposed in accordance with the model.

This value represents the maximal edge length of the triangles displayed.

The value proposed is just an approximation of this value.

Its relevance depends on the distribution of the points in the cloud.

It is visualized by a sphere. You can change its position by a simple mouse click.

The sphere is updated when you change the Neighborhood value.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 47

5. Check the Display option you need:

● Triangles to display only the mesh,


● Shading to simulate the surface of the object:
❍ with the Flat option, the light is sent on the triangles along their normal,
❍ with the Smooth option, the light is smoothed over the triangles,
giving a better image of the quality of the surface.

● Meshing requires a complex computation.


The computation time will increase according to the size and complexity of your model.
You may want to filter the cloud before starting the meshing.
● To mesh large quantities of points, we recommend the following settings:
❍ Sag=0mm
❍ Triangles not activated
❍ Shading activated, with the Smooth option.

These display options are applied within this action only.


Once you have validated the result with OK, the result is displayed in the Smooth mode,
even if the input element or the computed mesh were displayed in another mode.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 48

6. Constrained is used to:

● re-process a portion of a mesh by adding points to an existing mesh or


reprocessing a meshed cloud that has been unfiltered:
Open the Mesh2.CATPart model from the from the Samples directory.

The original mesh had holes in it. Select a faulty portion and proceed to a new meshing on that
portion.

The original mesh is in red. The re-processed mesh is in blue.

● connect several meshes:


Open the Mesh1.CATPart model from the Samples directory. Draw two traps on that part and
mesh
them with different values, as shown below. Now activate the remaining square of points, as
shown below.

7. For quicker meshing performances, you can filter portions of the parts according to your successive

needs.

The mesh is unconstrained, the activation trap does not overlap the previous meshes.
The resulting mesh is independent from the other two.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 49

The mesh is constrained, the activation trap overlaps the previous meshes.
The resulting mesh is connected to the other two.
Facets of the existing mesh that were totally or partially inside the trap have been removed
and recomputed to adjust to the additional mesh.

8. Click Apply to check or update the result.

Then click OK to confirm the result and exit the action.

An element Mesh Creation.x is created in the specification tree.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 50

Increase the Neighborhood value to improve the mesh or reduce it to avoid filling holes that should remain
clear:

Triangles:

Shading:
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 51

● In some cases, it may be difficult to find a Neighborhood value that will fill unwanted holes,
without creating unwanted triangles:

● Seams may appear on the mesh with the Smooth option, :

● They indicate that the normals to the facets have different directions at this place.
● In 2D and 3D mode, some triangles may overlap and mesh should be corrected.
● In Constrained mode, they show the common boundaries of meshes.

● When computing a constrained mesh, enter 0 as the Neighborhood value to check the boundaries of the
mesh.
If the boundaries are not satisfactory, modify the mesh plane to improve them.
● After the computation of a constrained mesh, two mesh elements are visible in the specification tree:
the constrained mesh and the initial mesh. You can select one and then the other to make sure they are
complementary.
● You can use the Meshes Merge action to obtain a single mesh.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 52

Tessellating an Object

This task shows how to create a tessellation from a surface or a solid.


Inside this action, you may specify the maximum size of the triangles and the maximum distance (sag)
between the geometry and the triangles.
Open the SurfTessellation1.CATPart model from the samples directory.

1. Click the Surface Tessellation icon . The Tessellation dialog box is displayed.

2. Select the surface or the solid to tessellate. Clik Apply.

3. You can modify the Sag value,

that is the maximum distance between the geometry and the triangles:
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 53

it has been increased to 1

4. You can also check the Step box to control the length of triangles:

5. Click OK to validate. A Tesselation.x element is created in the specification tree.

● The free edges of the tessellation are those of the surfaces or solids.
● To avoid free edges between the tessellations of several contiguous faces,
you can join them with the Join action of Quick Surface Reconstruction or Generative Shape Design.
They will then be processed as a single surface.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 54

Offsetting a Mesh
This task shows how to offset a mesh and create a watertight mesh.

● The offset is computed in the direction of the weighted normals of the points.
● This action can be used only for thin offsets.

Open the Offset1.CATPart model from the samples directory.

1. Select the Offset icon . The Offset Mesh dialog box is displayed.

2. Select the mesh.

3. Enter an Offset value.

The offset mesh is displayed, together with a green vector representing the offset.

The direction of the offset is given by the sign of the value.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 55

4. Check the Create shell option to create a watertight offset:

Create shell unchecked

Create Shell checked

5. Click Apply to check or update the result.

6. Then click OK to confirm the result and exit the action.

The element Mesh Offset.x is created in the specification tree.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 56

Flip Edges

This task shows you how to flip edges of triangles of a mesh, for a better respect of sharp edges,
by rotating the triangles common edges without modifying their vertices.
The meshing may become less harmonious but will provide a better respect of the shape of the part
because the triangles will be oriented in the direction of the shape, in particular for sharp edge fillets.
This is particularly important for milling operations that may follow.

This action reorganizes the meshing without modifying the geometry because the vertices are not recomputed.
● The new mesh inherits the graphic properties and display mode of the initial mesh.
● During the process, the mesh is displayed in Flat Shading mode.
● This action cannot be used on meshes with non-manifold edges.
● Undo/Redo are available.
● You may create several Flip_Edge.x elements in the specification tree,
corresponding to various degrees of reorganization of a given mesh.
You may then delete any of them, according to your needs.

Open the Flipedge.CATPart model the from the samples directory.

1. For a better view, set the View>Cloud Display Options to Flat.

2. Click the Flip Edges icon and the mesh. The dialog box is displayed.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 57

2. Eventually, set the value of Depth, that determines the amplitude of the reorganization of the mesh:

❍ The value of Depth ranges from 0 to 10.

❍ The default value is 2.

❍ When the value of Depth is 0, the action processes a triangle and its direct neighbors.

❍ When the value of Depth is 1, the action processes a triangle, its direct neighbors and their direct

neighbors,

and so on as you increase the value of Depth.

❍ This may lead to a temporary degradation of the energy function of the mesh, but results in a final

optimal solution.

❍ The computation time depends on the value of Depth, and on the size of the mesh to process.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 58

3. Click Apply to start the first reorganization iteration.

Click Apply again to start another iteration. You may repeat this step as many times as you wish.

4. Click OK to validate the result. A Flip_Edge.x element is created in the specification tree.

The initial mesh is sent to the No Show.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 59

Smoothing Meshes
This task shows you how to smooth a mesh.

The cloud of points you import in Digitized Shape Editor may be noisy, for various reasons,
mainly because of a poor digitalization accuracy on the edges of parts.
This noise is found again on the meshes computed from these clouds of points or imported
in STL format.

The consequences are:

● very noisy scans produced with the Planar Sections or Segmentations actions or
● the reconstruction of wavy curves or surfaces and/or of very high order.

This can be partly avoided by smoothing the mesh.


● This action cannot be used on meshes with non-manifold edges.

● Since the volume of the part is reduced, some small facets may be inverted by the meshing.
Therefore we recommend you alternate Mesh Smoothing and Flip Edges actions.
● Use the Activate function to process only a portion of a cloud.
Open the SmoothMesh01.CATPart from the samples directory

1. Click the Mesh Smoothing icon and a mesh.

2. The Mesh Smoothing dialog box is displayed.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 60

3. Select the type of smoothing:

Choose Single effect if there is no sharp edge on the mesh to process.

● Small radii will be erased.


● The volume of the part will be reduced (contraction towards the center
of gravity of the part).

Choose Dual effect to reduce the distance between outliers and the
surface,
and reduce the erasing of small radii.

● The reduction of the volume of the part is smaller.


● A large displacement of one vertex inwards may cause the neighboring
vertices to move outwards.

4. Two other controls are available:

● Coefficient : It balances the effect of the new theoretical position in


comparison
with the original position.
It varies from 0 (the vertex is not moved) to 1 (the vertex is moved to
the computed position).
● Max Deviation: Check this option to control the maximum deviation
allowed
(the displacement will remain under the value set.)
❍ The deviation is the distance between a vertex and its initial
position
(not between its current position and that of the previous iteration).
❍ Therefore, if you want to control the maximum deviation, you have
to check the
Max Deviation option before the first Apply (it is no longer
available after the first Apply).

❍ For a better appreciation of the quality of the intermediate meshes,


the meshes are
displayed in Flat Shading within the action.

❍ In addition, for each step the maximum and the mean deviations
(distances between a vertex and its initial position) are displayed in
the dialog box.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 61

5. Click Apply: a new mesh is computed.

This action is an iterative one: click Apply again to smooth the proposed mesh.

6. Click OK once you are satisfied.

A Smoothing.x element is created in the specification tree,

the original mesh is sent to the No Show.

Examples:
Original part, before entering the action, i.e. in Smooth Shading:
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 62
Original part as you enter the action, i.e. in Flat Shading:

Single effect, in Flat Shading


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 63

Single effect, in Smooth Shading (after exiting the action)


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 64
Dual effect, in Flat Shading

Dual effect, in Smooth Shading (after exiting the action)


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 65

Mesh Cleaner
This task will show you how to clean a mesh.

Imported STL files or generated meshes may present some irregularities such as:

● Corrupted triangles, i.e. triangles that have the same vertex twice,
● Duplicated triangles, i.e. triangles that share the same three vertices,
● Inconsistent Orientation, i.e. triangles that can not be oriented consistently with respect to each other,
● Non-manifold edges, i.e. edges shared by more than two triangles,
● Non-manifold vertices, i.e. vertices shared by two or more connected shells.

A mesh may also present some structural problems such as:

● Orientation problems, i.e. all the triangles are not oriented in the same direction,
● Isolated triangles, i.e. triangles belonging to small connected areas of the mesh,

● Disconnected zones, i.e. the mesh is made of several disconnected zones,


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 66

● Triangles with long edges.

Mesh cleaner proposes two families of treatments on such meshes:

● Deletion, i.e. visualization and deletion of corrupted or duplicated triangles,


of triangles with an inconsistent orientation, of non-manifold edges, or non-manifold vertices,
of isolated triangles and triangles with long edges.

● Structure, i.e. re-orientation or split.

You can process simultaneously several types of problems in the Deletion tab.
Structure problems must be processed separately.
Open MeshCleaner1.CATPart the from the samples directory.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 67

1. Click the Mesh Cleaner icon and select the mesh to process.
The dialog box is displayed.

2. Go to the tab of the treatment you want to apply.

3. In the Deletion tab, push the Analyze button.

Once the analysis is completed, the line(s) corresponding to the problem(s) found become active.

The Statistics column is updated with the number of cases found for the four first lines.

Here, only non-manifold vertices have been found, and there are 5 such vertices.

4. You can visualize the problems found:


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 68
Check the line(s) of the problem you want to visualize. By default, they are displayed in white.
You can choose another color in the Preview colors combo box.

5. For Isolated Triangles, use the slider to define the maximum number of triangles that a

disconnected area may contain.

If you set the slider to n, all the areas containing between 1 and n triangles will be visualized, then

deleted.

The limit values of the slider are defined according to the mesh.

6. For Long Edges, use the spinner to define the maximum allowed length edge of triangles.

All triangles with edges longer than this value will be deleted.

7. Click Apply to delete the unwanted elements and OK to exit the action and save the processed

part.

8. In the Structure tab,


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 69

❍ Check the Orientation line and click Apply to re-orient triangles, if that is possible.

❍ or check the Split in Connected Zones. The text box below is updated with the number of

connected zones found.

You can then choose to split them in Distinct zones or in one Grouped zone by checking the

appropriate option

and clicking Apply. SubMesh.x elements are then created in the specification tree.

9. Click OK to exit the action and save the processed part.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 70

Filling Holes on Meshes

This task shows you how to fill holes on meshs with the following advantages:
● You can either select the holes manually or automatically.
● The filling can be basic (no point inserted, basic remeshing) or more sophisticated
(points are inserted, and the meshing can be flat or curved).

Open the Fillhole1.CATPart from the samples directory.

1. Select the Fill Holes icon and Cloud Import.1.

2. The dialog box is displayed.

A first recognition of the holes is done:

❍ X means the hole is not selected,


❍ V means the hole is selected,
❍ The biggest hole found is considered as "exterior".
Since you usually do not want to fill the outside of the part, this hole is not selected, but you
can change its status.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 71

3. Click on the label to select or de-select a given hole or right-click on a label to call the contextual

menu:

Use Selected/Not selected as a toggle on a single hole, and Select all/De-Select all as a toggle on

all holes.

4. If you want to select the holes to fill automatically, check the Hole size option.

A sphere is displayed. You can change its diameter in the box on the right:
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 72

❍ either enter a value,

❍ or right-click to call the contextual menu:

All the holes smaller than this sphere are selected.

5. Click Apply. A basic meshing is computed to fill the hole:

6. Close the dialog box and repeat this step with the Points insertion option checked and click

Apply.

A new meshing is computed, with more meshing points:


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 73

With this option, you can set a Sag and a Step (i.e. the maximum length of the mesh edges)

value,

either directly or with the contextual menu.

7. By default, the filling is flat:

Check the Shape option for a curved filling.

The filling is computed on a virtual surface, the curvature coefficient of which is controlled by the

slider on the right:

increase this coefficient to increase the curvature of the filling.

8. Click Apply to visualize the filling with given parameters.

If you are not satisfied, click Undo, modify the parameters and click Apply to refresh the filling.

Once you are satisfied, click OK to validate and exit the action
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 74

● Undo is available within the action, not after you have exited the action.
● The holes to fill must be closed.
● When no coherent result can be computed, an error message is displayed.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 75

Interactive Triangle Creation


This task will show you how to create mesh triangles interactively:
● to create or modify a mesh quickly or
● to simplify hole filing by creating bridges within a hole.

Make sure the Display is not set to Free Edges.

Open the Fillhole1.CATPart from the samples directory.

1. Click the Interactive Triangle Creation icon .


The Interactive Triangle Creation dialog box is displayed.

2. To create a new mesh triangle, you can input:

❍ three points (vertices of an existing mesh or not), or

❍ two neighboring edges of a mesh (with a vertex in common), or


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 76

❍ an edge of an existing mesh and a point (vertex of an existing mesh or not).

To make the selections easier:


❍ As you pass the cursor over a mesh, the edge or the vertex under the cursor are highlighted:

❍ As you pass the cursor over a point, it is highlighted:

When the first selection is a point, it is displayed in red.


❍ If the next selection is another point, a red line is displayed between those two points.
At the next point selection, a triangle is proposed and displayed in blue.
❍ If the next selection is an edge, a triangle is proposed and displayed in blue.

When the first selection is an edge, it is displayed in red.


At the next selection, a triangle is proposed and displayed in blue.

3. Once a triangle is proposed:

❍ you can select other elements to define more triangles


(they will be proposed and displayed in blue) or
❍ click Apply. The triangle(s) displayed in blue is(are) created temporarily.
You can create further triangles.

4. Click OK to validate the creation of triangles:

● if the first element picked was a point that did not belong to a mesh,

a new Mesh.x element is created (even if the other elements selected belong to a mesh),
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 77
The first element picked is Point.2. A new mesh is created.

● if the first element picked was a vertex or an edge of an existing mesh,

this mesh is modified and no other mesh is created.

The first element picked is an edge of Cloud Import.1. Cloud Import.1 is modified, no
new mesh is created.

or Cancel to exit the action without creating any triangles.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 78

Operations
This chapter deals with the operations on meshes.

Meshes Merge
Split
Trimming or Splitting a Mesh
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 79

Merging Meshes

This task shows how to merge two meshes.


This action is useful especially for meshes resulting from a constrained mesh:
it removes the seam created by the constrained mesh.
This action does not modify the triangles of the meshes (holes are not filled, no management of
overlaps, ...).
For a good result, repair the meshes first, using constrained meshing, fill hole action, ....
Open the MergeMeshes1.CATPart model from the samples directory.
It consists of two meshes, the smallest resulting from a constrained meshing.

1. Select the Merge Meshes icon . The Meshes Merge dialog box is displayed.

2. Select the meshes you want to merge. The list in the dialog box is updated.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 80

3. To remove a mesh from the list of meshes to merge, make its name active in the list and

push the Remove button.

4. To replace a mesh in the list of meshes to merge, remove it, then select a new mesh.

5. Once you have selected all meshes to be merged, click OK.

A new single-cell mesh is created in the specification tree under the name Meshes Merge.x.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 81

Splitting Meshes

This task shows how to split a mesh or a cloud.

Open the Cloud.CATPart model the from the samples directory.

Click here for more information on the dialog box.

1. Select the Split icon . The Split dialog box is displayed.

2. Select the mesh or the cloud to split.

3. Select a portion of the element according to the Activation operating mode.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 82

4. Once the selection is done, click OK to validate.

5. The input element is hidden. Two elements are created in the specification tree:

❍ SplitCloud.1 and SplitCloud.2 if the input element was a cloud.

SplitCloud.1 corresponds to the remaining portion of the original cloud,

SplitCloud.2 is the split cloud (portion selected).

❍ SplitMesh.1 and SplitMesh.2 if the input element was a mesh

SplitMesh.1 corresponds to the remaining portion of the original mesh,

SplitMesh.2 is the split mesh (portion selected).

❍ The output element indexes are increased if further splits occur.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 83

● If the selection is empty, no split element is created.


● To retrieve the original input element, recall it from the No Show,
or merge the two split elements.
● When you split a mesh using the Trap option, the triangles are smoothly cut by the trap line.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 84

Trim/Split
This task will show you how:
● to split a mesh in several meshes (displayed in different colors below):

● and/or trim portions of the mesh delimited by curves, planes, surfaces or other meshes:
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 85
● The mesh must be exempt of Non Manifold problems, even on non-active areas.
You should use the Mesh Cleaner.

● Keep the portion of curves not taken into account at intersections as short as possible.
● For a better understanding, the colors of the mesh portions have been changed.
Open TrimSplit1.CATPart from the samples directory.

1. Click the Trim/Split icon . The dialog box is displayed.

2. Select the mesh to trim or split. It can consists of several cells.

3. Select the Cutting elements .


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 86

They can be:

❍ scans,
❍ curves,
❍ planes,
❍ surfaces,
❍ meshes.

Those input elements are highlighted in the graphic area and listed in the dialog box.
To remove a cutting element, select it in the dialog box list and push the Remove button.
To replace a cutting element with another, select is in the dialog box list,
push the Replace button and select the new cutting element.
To define an area, the projection curves of the cutting elements must intersect
each other or intersect free edges.

❍ This case defines two areas:

❍ This case defines nine areas:


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 87
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 88
❍ This case is not valid: the projection curve does not intersect any free edge.

❍ In some cases, changing the Projection type may solve the problem.

4. Select the Projection type

When scans or curves are used as cutting elements, those entities are close to the mesh but not on the mesh.
To compute the intersection, it is necessary to project those scans or curves on the mesh to
create intersection curves.
Four projection options are proposed:
❍ View: the projection is done along the view direction,
❍ Compass: the projection direction is defined using the compass,
❍ Normal: the projection is normal to the mesh,
❍ Along a direction: the projection is done along the direction defined by the user.

The projection option applies to all cutting elements.

5. Check Preview if you want to see the projection of the cutting elements on the mesh.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 89

This is an example of the Preview of a plane.

For better performances you should not activate the preview unless absolutely necessary.

6. Decide whether you want to trim or split the mesh:

If you want to split the mesh:

❍ Make sure the Split option is checked. This makes the Apply button available.

❍ Click Apply. The action creates several new meshes.

If you want to trim the mesh:

❍ Make sure the Trim option is checked. This makes the scissors and crossed-scissors available.

7. Use the scissors or crossed-scissors to define the portions to be kept or removed:

❍ Push the scissors button and pick the area(s) you want to remove,
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 90

❍ or push the crossed-scissors button and pick the area(s) you want to keep.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 91

❍ Click a scissors or crossed-scissors icon to delete one occurrence, or use the contextual menu.
❍ Push the Remove All button to delete all occurrences, or use the contextual menu.

❍ Unselected areas have the opposite status.


❍ You can not mix instances of scissors and crossed-scissors.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 92

A contextual menu is available on scissors and crossed-scissors:

❍ Delete: Deletes the occurrence,


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 93
❍ Delete All: Deletes all occurrences,

❍ Invert All: Replaces all occurrences of scissors by crossed-scissors and vice-versa.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 94

8. Select a Result option:


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 95

❍ if you check Distinct, the output meshes will be distinct elements,

❍ If you check Grouped, the new meshes will be cells grouped in a single body.

9. Keep Initial controls whether a new mesh is created in the specification tree or if the input mesh is replaced

by another when the command is executed.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 96
If Keep Initial is checked:

❍ the input mesh is sent to the NoShow and remains in the specification tree,

❍ the output meshes are created in the specification tree and the graphic area:

■ Distinct is checked

■ Grouped is checked


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 97

If Keep Initial is not checked:

❍ if Distinct is checked, the input mesh is removed from the specification tree,
the output meshes are created in the specification tree and the graphic area.

❍ if Grouped is checked, the result multi-cells mesh replaces the input mesh:
■ the input mesh is removed from the graphic area but its name remains in the specification tree,
■ the result multi-cells mesh is created in the graphic area and under the name of the input mesh
in the specification tree.

We recommend that you do not keep initial large meshes.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 98

10. Click Apply to preview the result.

11. Click OK to validate and exit the action.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 99

Display Options and Graphic Properties


This task shows how to change the display option of clouds of points.

Open the Visu1.CATPart model the from the samples directory.


It consists of four clouds of points:
● a mesh,
● a cloud of points,
● a set of scans,
● a set of grids.

Their default colors are respectively:


● orange,
● green,
● cyan,
● cyan.

The display options are available from the Cloud Display Options box.
Further graphic properties are available from the Edit/Properties menu, in the Graphic tab.

From the Cloud Display Options box, you can:

● Choose the sampling of clouds of points (N of 100 points are displayed).


● Choose to display scans or grids as polylines, points, or both.
● Choose to display triangles, free edges, non-manifold edges of meshes.
You can also choose their display mode: flat or smooth.

From the Edit/Properties menu, you can:

● Choose the fill color of the mesh and its transparency level,
● Choose the color and symbol of the points of a cloud,
● Choose the color, type and thickness of scans and grids,
● Choose to elements pickable or not.

Cloud Display Options box


The images below are only examples.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 100

1. Click the Cloud Display icon at the bottom of the screen.


The Cloud Display Option dialog box is displayed.

2. Select the cloud to modify. Display options are proposed according to the type of the cloud

selected:

Following options are not yet available:


❍ Protected,
❍ Orientation,
❍ Shrink,
❍ Normal.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 101

3. Choose the display options:

❍ For the cloud of points, you can choose to display only a percentage of the points making the

cloud,

using the Sampling option.

By default, 100% of the points are displayed. You can change this value with the associated

spinner.

Sampling=25
Sampling=100

The Symbol options are not available in that box, but in the Graphic Properties menu.

❍ For the sets of scans or grids, you can display them as line of points or points or both:
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 102

❍ For the mesh, you can:


■ display the triangles,

■ visualize only the vertices for a lighter display


(do not forget to de-activate the Smooth, Flat or Triangles options)

instead of
■ the free edges in yellow,
■ the non-manifold facets and their vertices in bold white lines.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 103

If you choose the display of triangles, the triangles accepting a non-manifold edge have
their edges displayed as regular white lines.

■ display the mesh as a smooth or a flat mesh.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 104

or

The free edges displayed are those of the complete cloud of points:
● if you activate only a portion of a cloud of points, the free edges of that portion are not displayed.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 105

● if you remove a portion of a cloud of points, the free edges of the remaining portion are displayed.

● If you move a cloud of points or a mesh, its graphic display options (not the graphic properties) are
lost.
● The display options are not saved in the CATPart while the graphic properties are.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 106

Edit/Properties menu (Graphic tab)


For more information about this menu, please refer to the Displaying and Editing Graphic Properties
chapter in the CATIA Infrastructure user's guide.

The images below are only examples.


You can access this menu through Edit/Properties, or through the contextual menu of the element,
or display the Graphic Properties toolbar (View/Toolbars/Graphic Properties).
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 107

or

● The color displayed in the Graphic Properties toolbar applies to meshes only.
● The graphic properties are saved in the CATPart.

● Use Fill/Color and Transparency to modify the color and transparency of meshs:
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 108

Please note that :


● the color of mesh free edges is yellow, and is not editable,
● the color of non-manifold edges is white, and is not editable,
● the default color of scans has changed to cyan.

For a higher transparency quality, go to Tools/Options/Display/Performances and check the High


(Alpha blending) option.

● Use Edges/Color, Line type and Thickness to modify the display of scans and grids or of the
triangles of a mesh :

● Use Points/Color and Symbol to modify the display of clouds of points:

● Use the Pickable check box to make an element pickable or not, and choose the pick option in the
list below.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 109

Information
This task shows you how to get information on a cloud of points.

Open Info1.CATPart from the samples directory.

1. Click the Information icon and select a cloud of points.

2. An information box is displayed, with the statistics about the selected cloud:

❍ Bounding box ,and active bounding box,

❍ Number of points, of active points, of selected points, of filtered points,

❍ Total number of triangles and of active triangles.

3. If you select another cloud, the information box is updated with the statistics of that cloud.

4. Push the Close button when you are finished to exit the action.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 110

Interoperability
STL Rapid Prototyping complies with the following CATIA V5 standards:

Updating Parts
Using the Historical Graph
Creating Datums
Points in Generative Shape Design
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 111

Updating Parts
This page explains how and when you should update your design. The following topics are discussed:
● Overview

● What Happens When the Update Fails? (scenario)

● Canceling Updates

● Interrupting Updates (scenario)

● Update All Command

Overview
The point of updating a part is to make the application take your very last operation into account. Although some operations
such as confirming the creation of features (clicking OK) do not require you to use the Update command because by default
the application automatically does it, some changes to sketches, features etc. require the rebuild of the part.

To warn you that an update is needed, the application displays the update symbol next to the part's name and shows the
geometry in bright red.

Keep in mind that:

● To update the feature of your choice, just right-click that feature and select Local Update.
● Besides the update modes, you can also choose to visualize the update on the geometry as it is happening by checking the
Activate Local Visualization option from the Tools > Options > Infrastructure > Part Infrastructure, General tab.

In this case, as soon as you have clicked the Update icon :


❍ the geometry disappears from the screen;
❍ each element is displayed as it is updated, including elements in No Show mode. Once they have been updated, they
remain in No Show mode.

Two Update Modes

To update a part, the application provides two update modes:

● automatic update, available in Tools > Options > Infrastructure > Part Infrastructure. If selected, this option lets
the application update the part when needed.
● manual update, available in Tools > Options-> Infrastructure > Part Infrastructure: lets you control the updates of

your design. What you have to do is just click the Update All icon whenever you wish to integrate modifications.
The Update capability is also available via Edit > Update and the Update contextual menu item. A progression bar
indicates the evolution of the operation.

What Happens When the Update Fails?


Sometimes, the update operation is not straightforward because for instance, you entered inappropriate edit values or because
you deleted a useful geometrical element. In both cases, the application requires you to reconsider your design. The following
scenario exemplifies what you can do in such circumstances.

Open the Update3.CATPart document.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 112

1. Enter the Sketcher to replace the circular edge of the initial sketch with a line, then return to Part Design.

The application detects that this operation affects the shell. A yellow symbol displays on the feature causing trouble i.e.

the shell in the specification tree. Moreover, a dialog box appears providing the diagnosis of your difficulties and the

preview no longer shows the shell:

To resolve the problem, the dialog box provides the following options. If you wish to rework Shell.1, you can:

❍ Edit it
❍ Deactivate it
❍ Isolate it
❍ Delete it

2. For the purposes of our scenario that is rather simple, click Shell.1 if not already done, then Edit.

The Feature Definition Error window displays, prompting you to change specifications. Moreover, the old face

you have just deleted is now displayed in yellow.

The text Removed Face is displayed in front of the face, thus giving you a better indication of the face that has

been removed. Such a graphic text is now available for Thickness and Union Trim features too.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 113

3. Click OK to close the window.

The Shell Definition dialog box appears.

4. Click the Faces to remove field if not already done and select the replacing face.

5. Click OK to close the Shell Definition dialog box and obtain a correct part. The shell feature is rebuilt.

Canceling Updates
You can cancel your updates by clicking the Cancel button available in the Updating...dialog box.

Interrupting Updates
This scenario shows you how to update a part and interrupt the update operation on a given feature by means of a useful
message you previously defined.

Open the Update.CATPart document and ensure that the manual update mode is on.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 114

1. Right-click Hole.1 as the feature from which the update will be interrupted and select the Properties contextual menu

item.

The Properties dialog box is displayed.

2. Check the Associate stop update option. This option stops the update process and displays the memo you entered in

the blank field. This capability is available in manual or automatic update mode.

3. Enter any useful information you want in the blank field. For instance, enter "Fillet needs editing".

4. Click OK to confirm and close the dialog box.

The entity Stop Update.1 is displayed in the specification tree, below Hole.1, indicating that the hole is the last feature

that will be updated before the message window displays.

5. Edit Sketch.1, which will invoke an update operation.

When quitting the Sketcher, the part appears in bright red.

6. Run the update operation by clicking the icon.


The Updating... as well as the Stop Update message windows are displayed. The Stop Update windows displays your

memo and lets you decide whether you wish to stop the update operation or continue it.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 115

7. Click Yes to finish.

The part is updated. You can now edit the fillet if you consider it necessary.

Using this capability in automatic update mode, the Stop Update dialog box that displays is merely informative.

8. If you decide not to use this capability any longer, you can either:

❍ right-click Hole.1, select Properties and check the Deactivate stop update option: the update you will perform
will be a basic one. To show that the capability is deactivated for this feature, red parentheses precede Stop

Update.1 in the specification tree: .


❍ right-click Stop Update.1 and select Delete to delete the capability.

Update All Command


The Update All command synchronizes copied solids linked to external references, but also updates the whole geometry of the
part. For information about external references, refer to Handling Parts in a Multi-document Environment in the Part Design
User's Guide.

There are cases where the command also displays the Replace Viewer window. This window either helps you redefine directions
if needed or is merely informative and therefore lets you check the validity of your geometry.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 116

Using the Historical Graph

This task shows how to use the Historical Graph.

Open any .CATPart document containing elements.

1. Select the element for which you want to display the historical graph.

2. Click the Show Historical Graph icon .


The Historical Graph dialog box appears.

The following icon commands are available:


❍ Add graph
❍ Remove graph
❍ Reframe graph
❍ Surface or Part graph representation
❍ Parameters filter
❍ Constraints filter

3. Just close the dialog box to exit this mode.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 117

Creating Datums
This task shows how to create geometry with the History mode deactivated.
In this case, when you create an element, there are no links to the other entities that were used to
create that element.

1. Click the Create Datum icon to deactivate the History mode.

❍ It will remain deactivated until you click on the icon again.


❍ If you double-click this icon, the Datum mode is permanent. You only have to click
again the icon to deactivate the mode.
❍ A click on the icon activates the Datum mode for the current or the next command.
❍ The History mode (active or inactive) will remain fixed from one session to another: it is
in fact a setting.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 118

Points in Generative Shape Design


This task shows you how to use points from a cloud of points in Generative Shape Design.

Open the Cloud1.CATPart from the samples directory.


We used the Line Definition for our example,
but the operating mode is the same for all creation action requiring points.

1. Select the type of creation from the combo list of the dialog box.

2. Go to the next Point field and choose Create Point from the contextual menu.

3. The Point Definition dialog box is displayed.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 119

4. Click a point on the cloud. Its coordinates are displayed in the Point Definition dialog box.

Click OK to confirm the creation of this point.

5. In the main dialog box, go to the next Point field and repeat the above steps as many times as

necessary.

6. If necessary, push the Point icon on the right of the Point field to modify the point you have

created:

the Point Definition dialog box is displayed and updated according to your pick on the cloud.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 120

Managing Geometrical Sets


Geometrical sets enable to gather various features in a same set or sub-set and organize the specification
tree when it becomes too complex or too long. You can put any element you wish in the geometrical set,
it does not have to be structured in a logical way. The order of these elements is not meaningful as their
access as well as their visualization is managed independently and without any rule.
This task shows how to manage geometrical sets within the specification tree. This involves:

● inserting a geometrical set

● removing a geometrical set

● changing body

● sorting the contents of a geometrical set

● reordering elements

You will find other useful information in the Managing Groups and Hiding/Showing chapters.
● You can insert and manipulate geometrical sets in the specification tree in much the same way as you
manage files in folders. For instance, you can copy/paste elements from a geometrical set to a target
geometrical set.
● These management functions have no impact on the part geometry.
● When loading the Generative Shape Design workbench, a Geometrical Set automatically becomes the
current body.
This also means that only the results of the Hybrid Body, i.e. the result of all the operations performed
on geometry, is visible and not any intermediate state of the Hybrid Body.
● You can define the Generative Shape Design feature that is to be seen when working with another
application, such as Generative Structural Analysis for example.

To do this, while in the Generative Shape Design workbench:

1. Choose the Tools -> External View... menu item.


The External View dialog box is displayed.
2. Select the element belonging to a Geometrical Set that should always been seen as the
current element when working with an external application.
3. Click OK in the dialog box.

The selected element will be the visible element in other applications, even if other
elements are created later in the .CATPart document, chronologically speaking.
To check whether an external view element has already been specified, choose the
Tools -> External View... menu item again. The dialog box will display the name of
the currently selected element. This also allows you to change elements through the
selection of another element. Note that you cannot deselect an external view element
and that only one element can be selected at the same time.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 121

Open any .CATPart document containing Geometrical Sets.


You can also open the GeometricalSets2.CATPart document.

Inserting a Geometrical Set


1. In the specification tree, select an element as the location of the new geometrical set.

This element will be considered as a child of the new geometrical set and can be a geometrical set

or a feature.

2. Select the Insert -> Geometrical Set menu command.

The Insert Geometrical Set dialog box is displayed.

The Features list displays the elements to be contained in the new geometrical set.

3. Enter the name of the new geometrical set.

4. Use the Father drop-down list to choose the body where the new geometrical set is to be inserted.

All destinations present in the document are listed allowing you to select one to be the father

without scanning the specification tree. They can be:

❍ geometrical sets
❍ parts

5. Select additional entities that are to be included in the new geometrical set.

If all selected entities belong to the same geometrical set, the father of the new geometrical
set is automatically set to the father of these entities.

6. Click OK to create the geometrical set at the desired location.

The result is immediate. CATIA displays this new Geometrical Set.x, incrementing its name in
relation to the pre-existing bodies, in the specification tree. It is created after the last current
geometrical set and is underlined, indicating that it is the active geometrical set. The next created
element is created within this geometrical set.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 122

You cannot create a geometrical set within an ordered geometrical set and vice versa.

You can check the Create a Geometrical Set when creating a new part option in Tools -
> Options -> Infrastructure -> Part Infrastructure -> Part Document tab if you wish
to create a geometrical set as soon as you create a new part. For more information about
this option, please refer to the Customizing section of the Part Design User's Guide.

Removing a Geometrical Set


Two methods are available:

1. If you want to delete the geometrical set and all its contents:

● Right-click the geometrical set then select the Delete contextual command.

2. If you want to delete the geometrical set but keep its contents:
This is only possible when the father location of the geometrical set is another geometrical set.
This is not possible when the father location is a root geometrical set.

● Right-click the desired geometrical set then select the Geometrical Set.x object -> Remove

Geometrical Set contextual command.

The geometrical set is removed and its constituent entities are included in the father geometrical set.
You cannot delete a feature within a geometrical set created on the fly. Indeed this geometrical
set is considered as private and can only be deleted globally.

Moving Elements of a Geometrical Set to a New Body

1. From the specification tree, select the element then choose the Geometrical Set.object ->

Change Geometrical Set... item from the contextual menu.


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 123

Multi-selection of elements of different types is supported. However, note that the


contextual menu is not available, and that you can access this capability using the Edit
menu item.
The Change geometrical set dialog box is displayed, listing all the possible destinations.

2. Select the Destination body where the geometrical set is to be located.

Here we selected GeometricalSet.3.

You can do so by selecting the body in the specification tree, or using the drop-down list from the

dialog box.

By default, if you select a body, the geometrical set is positioned last within the new body.

However, you can select any element in the new body, before which the moved geometrical set

will be located.

3. Select the element above which the one you already selected is to be inserted.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 124

You can directly select this positioning element. In this case the Destination field is automatically
updated with the Body to which this second element belongs.

4. Click OK to move the geometrical set to the new body.

The element selected first is moved to its new location in the specification tree, but geometry
remains unchanged.

❍ Check the Move unshared parents option to move all parents of the first selected element to
its new location, provided these parents are not shared by any other element of the initial
body.
In this case, all the unshared parents are highlighted prior to the move.
❍ Check the Move all parents option to move all parents of the first selected element to its new
location, regardless of whether these parents are used (shared) by any other element of the
initial body.
In this case, all the parent elements are highlighted prior to the move.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 125

❍ You can move a whole branch, i.e. a whole body and its contents, at a time.
Here we moved GeometricalSet.3 last in GeometricalSet.1.

You cannot move some elements of a multi-output alone to another body: only the whole
multi-output can be moved.

Sorting the Contents of a Geometrical Set


You may need to sort the contents of a Geometrical Set, when the geometric elements no longer appear
in the logical creation order. In that case, use the Auto-sort capability to reorder the Geometrical Set
contents in the specification tree (geometry itself is not affected).
The Geometrical Set.1 contains two extruded surfaces based on point-point lines. The specification tree
looks like this:
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 126

1. Right-click Geometrical Set.1 from the specification and choose the Geometrical Set.1 object ->

AutoSort command.

Instantly, the contents of the Geometrical Set are reorganized to show the logical creation

process.

The geometry remains unchanged.

Reordering Elements within a Geometrical Set


This capability enables you to reorder elements inside the same geometrical set.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 127

1. Right-click Geometrical Set.1 from the specification tree and choose the Geometrical Set.1

object -> Reorder Children command.

The Reorder Children dialog box is displayed.

2. Select an element.

3. Use the arrows to move an element up or down.

Reordering Features
The Reorder command allows you to move a feature in a Geometrical Set. These features can be:
● solids
● shape features
● sketches

Replacing Features
This capability is only available on shape features.
Please refer to the Replacing or Moving Elements chapter in the Part Design User's Guide.
To manage this capability, the Do replace only for elements situated after the In Work Object
option is available in Tools -> Options -> Part Infrastructure -> General tab. It allows you to make
the Replace option possible only for features located below the feature in Work Object and in the same
branch.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 128

Workbench Description
This chapter describes the menus, sub-menus, items and toolbars of the workbench.

Menu Bar
Creation Toolbars
Analysis Toolbars
Specification Tree
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 129

Menu Bar
This chapter describes the menus available in the workbench. Other menus are documented in the
Infrastructure User's Guide.

Start SMARTEAM File Edit View Insert Tools Windows Help

Start

Starts the STL Rapid


Prototyping Workbench

Insert
For See
STL Import Importing Files
Exporting
STL Export
Meshes to STL
Edition:

Activating a
Portion of a
Cloud of Points
Removing
Elements
Mesh: Mesh
Regeneration
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 130

Tessellating an
Object
Offsetting a
Mesh
Flip Edges
Smoothing
Meshes
Mesh Cleaner
Filling Holes on
Meshes
Interactive
Triangle
Creation
Decimating
Meshes

Operation: Merging Meshes

Splitting
Meshes

Trim/Split
Analysis
Information

For the other menu items, please refer to the Infrastructure User's Guide.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 131

Creation Toolbars
They are the following:

STL Files
Edition
Mesh
Operations
Analysis
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 132

STL Files
For See
ImportImporting Files

Export Exporting Meshes to STL


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 133

STL Edition
For See
ActivationActivating a Portion of a Cloud of Points

Remove Removing Elements


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 134

Tessellation
For See
Mesh Regeneration Mesh Creation

Surface Tessellation Tessellating an Object

Offset Offsetting a Mesh

Flip Edges Flip Edges

Mesh Smoothing Smoothing Meshes

Mesh Cleaner Mesh Cleaner

Interactive Triangle Creation Interactive Triangle Creation

Filling Holes Filling Holes on Meshes

Decimation Decimating Meshes


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 135

Operations
For See
Meshes MergeMerging Meshes

Split Splitting Meshes

Trim/Split Trim/Split
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 136

Analysis
For See
Information Information
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 137

STL Display Options Toolbar


It contains the following tool:

Display Options and Graphic Properties


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 138

Specification Tree
The specification tree portion specific to STL Rapid Prototyping looks like this:

Geometrical Sets

Groups

Output of Import

Output of Mesh Regeneration

Output of Surface Tessellation

Output of Offset

Output of Mesh Smoothing

Output of Meshes Merges

Output of Split

Output of Mesh Cleaner

Output of Trim/Split
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 139

Glossary

A
activate This function is used to define a particular portion of a cloud for further operations.

C
cell A mesh may consist of several cells (i.e. sub-clouds): for example, the mesh below
consists of two cells.

characteristic line They are particular lines corresponding for instance to curvature variations (fillets
start/end) or sharp edges, ...

F
flipping edge An edge common to two triangles of a mesh may be flipped, that is rotated,
to respect the shape a sharp edge of the tessellated part.

M
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 140

mesh A mesh consists of a set of meshal faces (triangles) which represent the surface of a 3D
model.
A triangulation is computed to describe the neighborhood relation of all points.

A mesh can be used to check the quality of the points, or can be processed in other
applications.

A mesh may present some irregularities such as:

● Corrupted triangles, i.e. triangles that have the same vertex twice,
● Duplicated triangles, i.e. triangles that share the same three vertices,
● Non-manifold edges, i.e. edges shared by more than two triangles,
● Non-manifold vertices, i.e. vertices shared by two or more connected shells.

A mesh may also present some structural problems such as:

● Orientation problems, i.e. all the triangles are not oriented in the same direction,
● Isolated triangles, i.e. triangles belonging to small connected areas of the mesh,

● Disconnected zones, i.e. the mesh is made of several disconnected zones,


STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 141

● Triangles with long edges.

R
remove This function deletes physically points from the cloud of points. The points cannot be
recovered.

S
shading A tessellation can be visualized in shaded mode.
This mode is a method for visualizing the point data and getting an impression of its
quality.
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 142

Index

A
activation
analyze

mesh cleaner
AutoSort Geometrical Set

command

B
bounding box

import

C
canceling

Update
cloud display

cloud display options

graphic properties

polyline and point

sampling

triangles
cloud display options

cloud display
command

Activate

AutoSort Geometrical Set

Change Body

Cloud Display
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 143

Create Datum

Export

Fill Holes

Flip Edges

Import

Information

Insert Geometrical Set

Interactive Triangle Creation

Merge Meshes

Mesh Cleaner

Mesh Creation

Mesh Regeneration

Offset

Properties

Remove

Remove Geometrical Set

Reorder Body

Show Historical Graph

Split a Mesh or a Cloud

tessellate an object

Update
constrained

meshing
contextual menu item

Properties
creating

datum
creating a shell

offsetting the mesh


cutting elements

trim/split
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 144

D
deletion

mesh cleaner
delimitors

import
depth

flip edges
direction

import
distinct

mesh cleaner

E
export

stl

F
facets

import
fill holes

hole size

points insertion

sag

selection of holes

shape

step
flip edges

depth
formats

import
free edges

import
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 145

G
graphic properties

cloud display
grouped

import

mesh cleaner

H
historical graph
hole size

fill holes

I
import

bounding box

delimitors

direction

facets

formats

free edges

grouped

minimal point quality

statistics

system

update
input

interactive triangle creation


Insert Geometrical Set

command
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 146

inserting

geometrical sets
interactive triangle creation

input

output

Interoperability
interrupting

Update
isolated triangles

mesh cleaner

L
long edges

mesh cleaner

M
managing

geometrical sets
max deviation

mesh smoothing
mesh cleaner

analyze

deletion

distinct

grouped

isolated triangles

long edges

orientation

preview colors

split in connected zones

statistics
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 147

structure
mesh smoothing

max deviation
meshing

constrained

mode

neighborhood

sphere
minimal point quality

import
mode

meshing
moving

geometrical sets

N
neighborhood

meshing

O
offsetting the mesh

creating a shell
orientation

mesh cleaner
output

interactive triangle creation

P
pick

remove
points insertion
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 148

fill holes
polygonal

trap
polyline and point

cloud display
preview colors

mesh cleaner
projection type

trim/split
Properties

contextual menu item

R
rectangular

trap
remove

pick

trap
Remove Geometrical Set

command
removing

geometrical sets
Reorder Body

command
reordering

geometrical sets

S
sag

fill holes

tessellate an object
sampling

cloud display
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 149
selection of holes

fill holes
shape

fill holes
sorting

geometrical sets
sphere

meshing
spline

trap
split in connected zones

mesh cleaner
statistics

import

mesh cleaner
step

fill holes

tessellate an object
stl

export
structure

mesh cleaner
system

import

T
tessellate an object

sag

step
trap

polygonal

rectangular

remove

spline
triangles
STL Rapid Prototyping Version 5 Release 16 Page 150

cloud display
trim/split

cutting elements

projection type

U
Update

canceling

command

interrupting
update

import